The Spanish press including Marca, AS and Mundo Deportivo have reacted to an explosive Champions League quarter-final between Manchester City and Atletico Madrid on Wednesday night
“Atletico’s heart died on the shore against City” was the verdict of the Spanish press after Diego Simeone’s team were turfed out of the Champions League in a fiery clash at the Wanda Metropolitano.
Pep Guardiola’s team progressed to the semi-finals last night as they ground out a 0-0 draw, their single goal win at the Etihad proving enough to earn them a semi-final against Real Madrid. “Atletico’s plan lacked only forcefulness,” said Marca. AS said: “Atleti had it.”
Most of the Spanish press, the morning after Atletico’s elimination by Manchester City, reflected on the English reaction to the brutal scenes at the end of the second leg clash, when Felipe was sent off for a second clash with Phil Foden, and then there were clashes in the tunnel afterwards, between both sets of players, with police called in at one stage.
But Simeone’s team were defended – with City and Guardiola’s slammed for timewasting. Marca said: “Simeone drew a tie – but it did not fall on the rojiblanco side due to the lack of punch.” They added: “There was a plan. It did exist. But the lack of success of the rojiblanco attackers left the team out of the semifinal. There will be no derby with Real Madrid in the semi-finals nor a fourth semi- finals of Atletico de Simeone.
Marca quoted Atletico midfielder Koke saying: “I’m proud of my teammates for the effort. Nothing to blame the team for. Proud of everyone and the people, who we have lost and they stay cheering. When you leave everything, this is Atlético.” And Koke attacked City for timewasting, saying: “”Today we have seen it. Many times we are Atletico who are criticized and today we are proud of what the team has done. We wanted to be in the semis, we are hurt, but we are proud of this Champions League and we will never stop believing. Now let’s focus on La Liga “.
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AS said: “Simeone’s men had Guardiola’s team against the ropes, but they were not accurate. That “Atleeeti , Atleeti” stung the silence at the end of the game. It was a cry to heaven from the Metropolitan. A cry dedicated to those brave men who watched from the grass. Broken, paralysed, in tears. Atleti woke up late, when the rooms had only forty-five minutes left. Forty-five minutes that he filled with chances. Forty-five minutes of pounding in the chest, while the City footballers, incapable, fell to the ground like skittles, in that old trick of football since prehistory: waste time when you win and want to win. Yes. Guardiola.”
Mundo Deportivo said: “The rojiblanco team, which was better than the English team, controlled the game but lacked aim in a great second half. Those of Guardiola, blurred by the colchoneros, ended up wasting time shamelessly. Simeone’s plan almost came out. Almost. But for what it’s worth, theirs fired players and Cholo stood up, full of pride. As if they had passed. Many cannot understand it. There is no need for him to do it. This is Atletico”